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Good cook's handbook.

Good Cook's Handbook

It's all about cooking, but there aren't any recipes. Instead, this practical new kitchen reference presents vast amounts of basic information in a simple, fresh-looking, easy-to-use format.

Good Cook's Handbook (Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, Calif., 1986; $6.95) is a book that will grow worn with use. Subtitled "A Ready Reference and Time-Saver,' it has speedy answers to all kinds of questions:

Company's coming! How fast can I thaw a frozen chicken? Can I thaw it in the microwave or in cold water?

How long does it take to steam an artichoke, or to boil one? How can I tell when it's done?

How do you get orange segments?

What's the difference between sablefish and whitefish? What's their fat content?

Do lentils have to be soaked? How long do I cook them?

What's the nutritional value of kohlrabi? Of corn tortillas?

It's a book to help both the beginner and the experienced cook.

Written by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine, the 112-page text is divided into six chapters--kitchen basics, meats and poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs and cheese, pasta and grains, fruits and vegetables. Special sections cover cleaning a crab, baking at high elevations, cutting up a whole chicken, and making best use of a food processor.

Much of the material is condensed in charts. These are color-toned to make them easy to read, and each chapter is coded with a different color band on top of the pages, so you can flip and find when you're too hurried for the index. For example, the meats and poultry chapter has a brown band, pasta and grain information a green one, fruits and vegetables purple.

An outline of the fruits and vegetables chapter gives you some idea how information-packed this book really is. The fruit section indicates times of peak availability of 38 market fruits and tells you how to choose and store each. Color-tinted line drawings show everything from how to segment citrus to how to make a pineapple boat. A chart details techniques for using a food processor with fruit.

In the same chapter, a vegetable chart takes you from artichokes to zucchini, with quality guides, season indicators, buying and storage tips, basic preparation ideas, and seasoning suggestions. Sketches show cleaning, peeling, and cutting of various vegetables. More vegetable charts tell you how to use a food processor, and how to boil or steam, microwave, stir-fry or butter-steam, bake or roast vegetables --even, as exerpted at right, how to grill them above a solid bed of medium coals.

Photo: A kitchen reference to use every day, handy new book condenses quantities of valuable information

Photo: Seal 1 to 4 servings of damp, rinsed vegetables with butter and salt to taste in heavy foil. Set them on grill 4 to 6 inches over medium coals; turn to cook evenly
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1986
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